Talk about a good way to start the post-All-Star break. The baseball scheduling gods did the Chicago White Sox a favor by having them open up the second half of the season with the American League West-leading Houston Astros.
It wasn’t that long ago the White Sox had the best record in baseball and were thought by some to be the best team in the majors. Then, they went into Houston and looked vulnerable in a four-game sweep by the Astros.
Having been swept by both the Astros and New York Yankees opened the door for critics to attack the White Sox and question their position in baseball’s pecking order. They were beating up on the bad teams but were they good enough to beat the top teams?
The White Sox put the Astros’ series in the rearview mirror and, despite several more injuries, managed to stay atop the American League Central with a 54-35 record, good enough to once again have the best winning percentage in the American League.
While it is true they have beaten the teams they should beat (eg. Minnesota, Detroit, Baltimore) by a margin of 38-11, they have gone 16-24 against teams currently posting a .500 record or better. The White Sox went 2-1 against Tampa Bay and Toronto but either split or have a losing record against Boston, New York Yankees, Cleveland, Seattle, and Los Angeles Angels.
The Chicago White Sox have a big opportunity with the Houston Astros in town.
The Astros pose an excellent opportunity for the White Sox to start off on the right foot and beat a team they could possibly face in October. Houston is coming in having won seven of its last 10 and is looking like the World Series champs they were in 2017. They currently lead the majors in batting average (.269), OBP (.344), OPS (.783), RBI (475), and runs (496). Defensively, they have committed the fewest errors (38) and lead all of baseball with a .988 fielding percentage.
Houston outscored the White Sox 27-8 and had 38 hits in their four-game set. Conversely, the Southsiders left 33 runners on base in the series. That will get you every time against a quality team.
This three-game series at Guaranteed Rate starting tonight will not be so much an opportunity to get revenge as it could set the tone for what the second half of the season will look like. Being competitive and, at the very least, winning the series could get the White Sox off on the right foot before heading back into divisional matchups with the Twins, Indians, and Kansas City,